UMass Amherst to Host Fourth Annual Multicultural Film Festival Feb. 25-April 30

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts will host its fourth annual Multicultural Film Festival from Tues. Feb. 25 to Wed. April 30. The festival is coordinated by the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies, and features film screenings, discussions with filmmakers and video artists, and presentations by film scholars. This year’s event focuses on the experiences of emigres, exiles, and sojourners portrayed in cinema. All screenings and events are free and open to the public and will be held in Herter Auditorium (Room 231).

The festival’s 10 feature and documentary films offer diverse styles and perspectives. Issues addressed in the films include: adaptation and resistance to new cultures; national and ethnic identities; and the cultural and psychological consequences of border crossings. The series explores the motives, struggles, and rewards of transition and forging new identities, as well as the ways in which people represent themselves in the cultures they encounter.

The events are as follows:

* "When Mother Comes Home for Christmas" - The 1995 film looks at the meaning of "global economy" through the story of a Sri Lankan woman who works as a housecleaner and nanny in Greece, and then returns to Sri Lanka for Christmas after eight years. It will be introduced by its director, Nilita Vachani. Tues. Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m., Merrill I Auditorium, Amherst College.

* "Latcho Drom" ("Safe Journey") - Tony Gatlif’s film has been called the "ultimate road movie," and is a sound-and-image symphony depicting the nomadic culture of the Roma (gypsy) people. Wed. Mar. 5, 7:30 p.m., Herter Hall.

* "I Can’t Sleep" - Directed by French filmmaker Claire Denis, the film weaves the disparate stories of recent immigrants in Paris to reveal the underlying connection between them. Co-sponsored by the Mount Holyoke College Film Studies program. Wed. Mar. 12, 7:30 p.m., Gamble Auditorium, Mount Holyoke College.

* "Bhaji on the Beach" - The critically acclaimed feature film about three generations of Asian women in Britain, negotiating their ethnic and female identities. Wed. Mar. 26, 7:30 p.m., Herter Hall.

* "The Children of Ivan Kuz’mich" - A view of the 1941 graduating class of an elite Moscow elementary school attended by children of the Kremlin leadership and leading figures in the arts and sciences. Russian director Marina Goldovskaya will attend the event, which is the U.S. premiere of her latest documentary. Thur. Mar. 27 at 7:30 p.m., Stirn Auditorium, Amherst College.

* "Halving the Bones" - This 1995 documentary bridges genres, cultures, and moral stances in its search for the autobiographical narrator’s fragmented family history. Japanese-American director Ruth Ozeki Lounsbury will introduce the film. Wed. April 2, 7:30 p.m., Herter Hall.

* "Say Amen, Somebody" - This documentary features prominent gospel artists and their performances. The film will be introduced by Horace Boyer, professor of music and director of multicultural programs at UMass. "Say Amen, Somebody" will also open the 26th annual Black Musicians Conference in early April. Mon. Apr. 7, 7:30 p.m., Herter Hall.

* "Family Name" - This recent Sundance Festival award-winner examines the legacy of slavery in America through three contemporary families whose histories converged in the South more than a century ago. The event will also feature a discussion with the film’s director, Macky Alston. Wed. Apr. 16, 7:30 p.m., Herter Hall.

* "Lamerica" - Shot in Albania, Gianni Amelio’s 1995 film is an odyssey and moral awakening to an ideal of freedom once sought in America, but which is now seen as only a dream in the minds of dispossessed migrants in post-communist Eastern Europe. Mon. Apr. 28, 4 p.m., Hampshire College’s West Lecture Hall, in Franklin Patterson Hall

* "Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask" - This 1996 film biography offers contemporary discussions of post-colonial identity and displacement. Wed. Apr. 30, 7:30 p.m., Herter Hall.

In addition to the films, a panel of graduate students and faculty members will discuss the festival’s films, and how the themes have touched their own lives. "Autobiographical Reflections: Looking at ?migr?s, Exiles and Sojourners’ Lives" will include Walid Ra’ad, video production and criticism at Hampshire College; Patricia Galvis-Assmus, art at UMass; as well as graduate students Yeon Choi, Octavio Kano Galvan and Elizabeth Fullon will show and discuss their work on migration and cultural identity. Wed. Apr. 9, 7:30 p.m., Herter Hall.

This year’s festival is made possible by special collaboration with the Fine Arts Center’s department of multicultural programs; the University of Massachusetts departments of communication and comparative literature; the Five College Lecture Fund; the theater department of Smith College; the history department of Amherst College; and Hampshire College School of Humanities and Arts. Additional funding has been provided by the following University of Massachusetts entities: the Chancellor’s Office; the UMass Arts Council; the dean of Humanities and Fine Arts; the dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences; the vice chancellor of the graduate school; and the Student Activities Enrichment Fund.

A one-credit undergraduate colloquium may be arranged by contacting professor Carolyn Anderson, communication, 413/545-3455.